I chose a mug because of its cylindrical shape, its always harder than something with a straighter edge. Also, I think I’m not alone when I say the the mouth of any cup, glass or bowl can be really tricky not only in getting the shape and angle right, but where the highlights and shadows begin and end.
The reflective surface was another challenge – I had to place some black card underneath it to stop everything sitting on my table reflecting off it. I also noticed that whenever I raised my head up from my drawing to refer to the real mug, the slightest angle variation gave me different reflective shapes.
I didn’t look like I was getting anywhere but by the end I was fairly happy with it. I’m happier more with the exterior than the interior of my mug.
I grabbed a padlock to draw because it had a nice simple, solid shape that included curves and straight edges.
I’m sure there are more cross-hatching styles but the three listed are the ones in common practice, and the most distinctive.
Line hatching – (Top drawing) where all lines are drawn in the same direction or angle.
On a contoured surface it was really had to resist shading around the edges – it was going against my natural instincts. It does look nice, though it was hard to layer the darkest areas because this technique builds up colour over the same area or grain of the paper, which can only handle so much.
Cross-hatching – (Middle drawing) building up tone by varing the angle of linework with each sucessive layer.
I quite like the multi-prism pattern its created. The shiny surface of the body isn’t as convincing as the hinge (or whatever it’s called). It does feel a lot more weighted compared to the line hatch version.
Contoured hatching – (Bottom drawing) the layering of linework follows the object’s surface contours.
It looks a little weird. The whole thing looks as though it’s been wrapped in cotton. However, the reflective surface is good and it feels weighted well.
Overall, I prefer the second version, primarily because the texture created also gives the drawing some personality. It’s not just a drawing attempting to replicate a real object – it embraces the technique and almost flaunts it, making you want to look closer at the detailing and lose yourself in the linework.
My model for today was this little fella I bought at a Salavtion Army (thrift) store, he caught my eye as I walked passed. When I went in, I literally said (and unintentionally) “How much is that dog in the window?” The store manager was waiting for someone to say that. I’m glad I fell for it!
For this exercise I used 2B, 4B and 6B pencils. I completed the 2B version first and it was only after finishing the 4B that the differences were more obvious. I’ve always preferred darker pencils to 2Bs but I’ve never done a comparison test.
The 2B, on reflection, was a lot more labour intensive. In this case you can see that in order to create the fluffiness of the dog, the linework ends up being harsher, as well as more energetic.
With the 4B being a softer grade it was easier to graduate the tones without necessarily layering my linework, meaning in one stroke of the pencil I could change the tone from light to dark quite easily, in a tapering movement. So much easier to create darker tones. The shapes feel more defined because I could get more depth tonally and therefore, I think, more personality.
The drawing has more volume and it involved less effort. It only took me half an hour to finish compared to the 2B which was about forty-five minutes.
The 6B was so soft, it’s probably suited to larger-sized drawings (these were set on A5). It was so sensitive I had to really control the pressure, making it harder to create variation in the darker tones. The pencil also went blunt more regularly so required regular sharpening which tends to interrupt the flow of rendering.
Under: My first attempt was a crumpled piece of paper – but the size of it and the amount of creases in it would have taken me the whole afternoon. So I opted for a tissue.
I’m not sure if cross-hatching suits drawing something so light and soft. I think I succeeded in the whiteness of the subject, but maybe the cross-hatching made the end result feel a bit heavy and clunky..?
Possibly instead of shading in every tone I saw, despite how subtle, I shouldn’t have put it in. I think I should have been more selective about what to put in so that my drawing retained all the qualities of the tissue.
Over: Like the other cross-hatching exercises it never looks like much in the beginning, so much so that I think I’ve totally ballsed it up, only seeing it come together towards the end.
However, this was looking more like an iceberg than a chunk of chocolate and as per usual I started to fill in the lighter areas with tone too much. Thankfully I was more aware of it while in progess so I removed most of it.
Before I finished I decided to add some contoured line-hatching purely to define the subject matter rather than for tonal values.
For instance, the rounded surface on top of the main piece – although that heavy shading along that left edge doesn’t exist, what little shading I originally had there wasn’t expressing the moulded shape enough. By adding contoured hatching it helps you make that mental connection with the typical shape of a block of chocolate.
I also had to use some creative license on the base of the chocolate too. The piece I broke off was a corner section so it had clean cut sides, and didn’t have the yummy chocolate chunkiness I wanted, so added diagonal lines to give it character and much needed contrast.
Cross-hatching is not something exclusive to pencil but it is associated by tradition. Although if you do a google search on “drawing, sketching, pencil” there aren’t many finished examples where cross-hatching is employed. Maybe some people find it too intrusive. Admittedly it is very labour intensive before you see any results. Personally, I find it adds a lot of energy and character to the drawing. Hell, if it was good enough for Rembrandt it’s good enough for me. Your thoughts?
The Creative Plan – Day 1 Graphite Pencil